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English Recipes: Roast Chicken with bread sauce

A whole roast chicken, roast potatoes and parsnips, green beans, gravy and bread sauce.Sunday lunch in England generally means a roast. While roast beef is generally the most common, roast chicken is also very popular. While roast potatoes and parsnip is common in most roasts, bread sauce is generally made only with roast chicken. It’s an unusual sauce but very tasty and works well with a succulent roast chicken.

I made this for the first time while living in London and I invited my English friends around.  Thankfully they confirmed that this tasted like the real thing!

Serves: 4


  • Whole free range chicken (2 kg)
  • 1 carrot, chopped roughly into chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped roughly chopped
  • 1 brown onion, chopped into quarters
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 6 large potatoes (approx 1 1/2 per person)
  • 2 parsnips, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of semolina
  • 100 gr goose or duck fat
  • salt and pepper


  • 500 ml milk
  • 75 gr unsalted butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • pinch of grated/ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt and white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon double cream
  • 125 gr fresh white bread crumbs


Turn the oven to 200 C / 390 F.

Place the chopped carrot, celery and onions in a roasting pan. Smear the chicken skin with oil and sprinkle very generously with salt and some pepper. Once the oven is hot, put the chicken into the middle shelf and cook for 10 minutes. This hot oven will help with making the skin crispy.

After the 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 180 C / 350 F. Cook for a further 1 hour and 10 minutes for a 2 kg chicken.  Time will vary depending on the size of the chicken (ask your butcher for guidance or use this roast calculator).

Meanwhile, Peel the potatoes and cut into decent chunks. A medium-sized potato should be cut roughly into 6.

In a large pot, that has a lid, fill 3/4 with water. Bring this water to boil and add the potatoes. Boil for about 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes and pour back into the pot and place on the lid. Shake this pot quite hard until the edges of the potatoes are slightly jaggered. You do this so they become crisper when roasting. Add the semolina and toss, so the potatoes are covered.

Scoop the goose / duck fat into a medium-sized roasting tray and place into the oven to melt.

To check that the roast chicken is cooked, you need to poke the thickest part of the chicken with a skewer and if the liquid running out is clear, then the meat should be cooked. Drain the chicken slightly into the roasting pan and place the chicken onto a serving dish. Cover with aluminium foil and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 200 C / 390 F.

Once the goose / duck fat has melted in the oven, add the potatoes to the tray and cook for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.

In a small pan, add all the bread sauce ingredients, excluding the cream and bread crumbs. Bring slowly to the boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Then turn the flame off, cover with a lid and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

With the parsnips, boil in a pot, also for 4 minutes. Drain and add to the potato tray as soon as the potatoes have roasted for 25 minutes, as the parsnips only need 20 minutes to cook.

With the roasting tray that the chicken was cooked in, heat on the stove top. Try to scoop away the excess fat with a spoon. Add the chicken stock and season to taste. Whisk this gravy until slightly thickened. Try to scrape off some of the flavour that is sticking to the pan. Pour the liquid through a sieve into a jug to serve.

With the bread sauce, strain and then pour back into the pot (after giving it a little rinse). On a very small flame, add the cream and the bread crumbs.  Whisk all together and season to taste. The consistency shouldn’t be runny, you should be able to serve a spoon full, but it also shouldn’t be really thick. This is now also ready to serve.

There is a few things to juggle, but they are all slow cooking and so before you know it you’ll have a perfectly cooked roast chicken with bread sauce, roast potatoes and parsnips and perfect gravy.  Your family / friends will love you for it.  Enjoy!

[note note_color=”#f9f9e9″ text_color=”#6d6e72″]Use your chicken carcass to make Tortellini al Brodo.  Leftover chicken? Perfect for chicken mayo sandwiches[/note]


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